DENTON (UNT), Texas — The COVID-19 pandemic has upended many facets of our lives – including the way we dress.
In the last year, comfort has been one of the most appealing features of our clothing choices, said Annette Becker, director of the Texas Fashion Collection in the University of North Texas College of Visual Arts and Design. As an indicator of consumers’ demand for stylish comfortability, she points to designer Nell Diamond’s trademarked “nap dress,” a lightweight, breathable cotton nightgown-dress with a flexible fit. In October 2020, sales confirmed the designer had struck gold as more than $1 million worth of dresses were sold in a few hours.
It's not the first time societal changes have influenced the clothing worn in private, domestic spaces.
“From transforming homes into venues for entertaining during Prohibition in the 1920s to the COVID-19 pandemic reshaping our living spaces into primary sites for leisure, our wardrobes have long responded to changing demands of our times,” Becker said.
A new exhibit opening Monday (March 29) at NorthPark Center in Dallas will trace the design innovations and cultural changes associated with at-home styles over the last century. “Fashion in Residence” will feature 14 womenswear styles curated by Becker from the Texas Fashion Collection’s nearly 20,000 historic and designer garments and accessories. Designers represented include Lilly Pulitzer, Texas native Todd Oldham and Hanae Mori, who is the first Asian woman to become a member of the French Federation of Fashion and of Ready-to-Wear Couturiers and Fashion Designers, the French fashion industry’s premier governing organization.
“Within American popular culture, advances in at-home dress have empowered women by gently challenging the boundaries of acceptable dress,” Becker said. “While women wearing pants was not widely accepted until the 1970s, hostess ensembles as early as the 1920s included bifurcated garments. When televisions flooded American homes in the 1950s, designer Claire McCardell designed the first ‘television suit,’ an ensemble somewhere between a house dress and nighttime pajamas. And the late 1960s sexual revolution pushed lingerie out of the bedroom and onto the pages of fashion magazines, enlivening options in intimate apparel.”
As part of a continued partnership with NorthPark, the Texas Fashion Collection shares its extensive permanent collection with the public in the shopping center’s arts-focused space on the first floor between Neiman Marcus and Dillard’s. “Fashion in Residence” will be on display March 29-June 6.
FASHION IN RESIDENCE
When: March 29-June 6
Where: Level One between Neiman Marcus and Dillard’s, NorthPark Center, 8687 N. Central Expressway, Dallas
The exhibit is free and open to the public.
About the UNT Texas Fashion Collection
The Texas Fashion Collection is part of the College of Visual Arts and Design at the University of North Texas. Housed at UNT’s main campus in Denton, this unique repository collects and documents historic dress and high fashion from past centuries through the present. The Texas Fashion Collection was created by a variety of notable groups and individuals whose vision and style continue to inspire students, researchers and visitors.
About NorthPark Center
NorthPark Center is the preeminent shopping center in the Southwest and one of the finest shopping experiences in the world with more than 230 stores and restaurants, including more than 60 market exclusives. Anchored by Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Macy’s and Dillard’s, NorthPark offers an unparalleled collection of luxury boutiques set amid internationally acclaimed 20th and 21st century art, award-winning architecture and extraordinary landscaping — as well as a 1.4-acre garden, CenterPark, and a state-of-the-art movie theatre, AMC NorthPark 15. NorthPark consistently ranks as one of the top five performing shopping centers in the United States and is North Texas’ number one visitor destination. NorthPark is conveniently located seven miles from downtown Dallas and 35 miles from Fort Worth. northparkcenter.com, 214-363-7441, 8687 N. Central Expressway, Dallas, TX 75225.